Man sentenced to prison for stealing truck, fatally striking Pittsfield motorcyclist

By Bob Dunn, The Berkshire Eagle PITTSFIELD — “We were supposed to watch him grow old.” That was part of an impact statement from the daughter of Pittsfield motorcyclist Alan Keefe, who was killed in an August 2018 collision with a stolen pickup truck.

The statement from Breanna Keefe, 22, was read into the record Monday by Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Megan Tesoniero, who prosecuted the case. The driver of that truck, Brian Dillard, 33, was sentenced to up to three years in prison after pleading guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to multiple charges, including negligent motor vehicle homicide in connection with Keefe’s death. The crash occurred about 5:45 p.m.

Aug.

24 at the intersection of Linden and John streets in Pittsfield, when Keefe’s 1994 Harley-Davidson struck the Dodge pickup Dillard was driving, which had veered into the oncoming lane. Keefe, 49, was taken to Berkshire Medical Center, where he later died from injuries sustained in the crash. The truck was found empty about a half mile away, with its driver’s side door open and the engine still running.

Dillard, of North Adams, admitted he panicked and took off, ditched the truck and called a friend for a ride back to North Adams. He had taken the truck that afternoon from his employer without permission to use it while his license was under suspension. Dillard told a friend the next day about the crash and after hearing Keefe had died as a result said, “I’m going to prison because I fled.”

Tesoniero said based on the circumstances and Dillard’s previous record, the state’s recommendation of state prison and not just jail time was an appropriate one.

Article Continues After These Ads

She noted that, despite being aware of the collision and Keefe’s death, Dillard still did not turn himself in to authorities, but waited until they located and arrested him. Dillard’s attorney, Joseph Zlatnik, said his client was “absolutely” sorry for his actions and acknowledged Keefe’s death was a major tragedy that isn’t taken lightly and he’s cognizant of the pain he’s caused. Zlatnik noted a certified accident reconstructionist determined Dillard was not operating erratically and was driving at or slightly below the 30 mph limit before the crash and was either stopped or moving very slowly at the time of the impact.

He said Dillard was sober at the time, but that the truck had crossed over the yellow line while navigating a turn. Judge John Agostini adopted the state’s sentencing recommendation, saying he was overwhelmed by Dillard’s criminal record. That record, said Agostini, shows at least four convictions that led to jail sentences and numerous violations of probation.

He said the facts of the case alone — stealing a truck from his employer while his license was suspended and then fleeing after the collision — were enough to warrant a state prison sentence. In all, Dillard pleaded guilty to one count each of negligent motor vehicle homicide, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident resulting in death, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, use of a motor vehicle without authority and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. He will serve his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.

Dillard was given credit for 522 days of time already served in custody.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.

If you’d like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us.

We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.